KT Harrell taking charge as Auburn travels to Texas Tech
Dec. 2, 2014
By Charles Goldberg
KT Harrell is been on the move for Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coach Bruce Pearl wants KT Harrell to go out a winner in his senior season, so a pep talk was in order after a rare shaky performance in Las Vegas.
He told Harrell it was OK for him to take over games.
"Part of it is, Mr. Obvious in the sense that this is his team by virtue of being a senior, by being from Montgomery, by being our hardest worker; it's his team," Pearl said. "If he feels better because he heard his coach say that, that's fine. He was feeling a lot of pressure, and I was trying to validate that pressure for him and let him know it's OK to go ahead and take this thing over anytime you're ready."
Harrell, who has led Auburn in scoring four of its five games, scored only two against Tulsa in Vegas, but bounced back with a KT-like 20 points in Auburn's win over Oregon State the next time out. He's third in the SEC in scoring, at 17.2 points per game, as Auburn moves to play Texas Tech in Lubbock at 8 Wednesday night. Auburn is 3-2 and Texas Tech is 4-1.
Pearl is hoping his other wing man and scorer, Antoine Mason, will be available to join Harrell. Mason hasn't played since the first game since injuring an ankle. He practiced for the first time Sunday, though Pearl said Mason is "very questionable" to play Wednesday.
That puts Harrell back in the spotlight, sometimes shared by Cinmeon Bowers, who has four double-doubles in the first five games and leads the SEC in rebounding.
"My only frustration comes when I think about this being KT's senior year and so desperately wanting him to have a different senior year than what he has had in the past," Pearl said. "It's still within our grasp, but the margin is really close. He knows it and puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform. Obviously, against Oregon State in the second half he was not going to come back to Auburn and not going to go home for Thanksgiving with us being under .500. He put us on his back and really played well."
Pearl said the Vegas trip showed him something about his players.
"They've had the ability to bounce back… which demonstrates to me that there's pretty good chemistry on this team. We've faced enough adversity where there could have been some guys that could have abandoned ship and panicked a little bit, and I don’t see that. I really like the effort and the attitude in practice. I like the way they're getting along. I like the way they're focused on trying to get better."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine